Aging Well in the Gorge February 27th 2019

Growing older is hard to prepare for. You have hopes of what your future will look like: staying active with friends, being financially secure, discovering new experiences, but so often something appears out of the clear skies and rains on your parade.

When I ask friends at the Center how they handle the uncertainties of life, the most common answer I hear is a “positive attitude” - making the best of whatever happens. But what can you do to develop and maintain a positive attitude?

I found this INC. magazine article on the Internet, “8 Ways to Improve Your Attitude” by Geoffrey James. The readers of INC. magazine are go-getter entrepreneurial types, but these suggestions can also apply to us “go-getter” older types. How many of these qualities do you possess?

1. Always act with a purpose. 
2. Stretch yourself past your limits every day. 
3. Take action without expecting results. 
4. Use setbacks to improve your skills. 
5. Seek out those who share your positive attitude. 
6. Don't take yourself so seriously. 
7. Forgive the limitations of others.
8. Say "thank you" more frequently.

Even following these suggestions, keeping a positive attitude can still be challenging. There may be days you feel like standing up and fighting back the hands of time from throwing you down the stairs. But there may be other days when you feel angry knowing you are no longer physically or mentally who we once were; or days when you feel resigned believing there isn’t anything you can do to change your life’s direction; or days when the chemo treatment just makes you feel so crappy you just want to stay in bed.

It takes effort to keep your spirits up, finding the best in each day and maintaining a positive attitude. But for those days when it is a struggle to do your best, this prayer might sound familiar.

“So far today, God, I have done alright. I haven’t gossiped, lost my temper, haven’t been greedy, grumpy, nasty selfish, over-indulgent, or told anyone to mind their own business and to stay out of mine. I’m really glad about that. But in a few minutes, I’m going to get out of bed and from them on I’m probably going to need a lot more help.”

Thanks to everyone who made the Center’s Fundraiser Dinner and Auction a financial success: our sponsors – The Springs at Mill Creek, Ray Schulten’s Motors and Cousins Restaurant; The Pines Winery; all the wonderful volunteers including the Red Hat Ladies and Boy Scout Troop #396; the night’s master auctioneer and entertainer - Rocky Webb; and especially Joan Silver, Vicki Sallee, Nancy Sallee and Jana Webb who planned and organized the event. And as promised we raffled off the Chicken Coop and the lucky winner was Matt Eby.

The snow forced us to postpone this class last month, but we’ll try again on Wednesday, March 6th at 1:00 when Lucille Torgerson and Widge Johnson will be presenting their one-hour class, “As I Was Saying – Writing Your Life Story for Your Family, Friends and Yourself”. If you ever wanted to write your life experiences to share with others, this will be a great place to start.

The title of the book written by Truman Capote that detailed the 1959 murders of four members of the Herbert Clutter family in a small farming community in Kansas was In Cold Blood. I received correct answers from Sue Ortega, Ruth Radcliffe, Barbara Caldwell, Jerry Phillips, Lana Tepfer, Carol Earl, Cheri Brent and Lee Kaseberg - this week’s winner of a free quilt raffle ticket. And last week I missed Ruth Radcliffe.  

The irreverent World War II novel by Joseph Heller first published in 1961 follows the life of Captain John Yossarian, a U.S. Army Air Forces B-25 bombardier.  For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the title of this book that became a cult classic, especially among the Vietnam War generation, and the title has become a part of our modern vocabulary describing a “no-win” situation. Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or return your answer on the back of the poster for the film adaption released in 1970.

Well, it’s been another week waiting for the signs of spring to rise out of the winter snow. Until we meet again, what’s been doesn’t necessarily mean what will be.
“The thing that’s important to know is that you never know. You’re always sort of feeling your way.” Diana Arbus, Photographer

Aging Well in the Gorge February 20th 2019

Help me with this question. What does “old” look like?

Here’s the reason I’m asking. I take a diuretic and for me one of the side effects is dry mouth. And because of my dry mouth, I apparently make strange mouth contortions to moisten my mouth. It hasn’t been a problem until the other day when my wife told me to stop because, as she put it so eloquently, ”IT MAKES YOU LOOK LIKE AN OLD MAN!” Now what does that mean? Some toothless old guy gumming his saliva?

I’ve mentioned how I must keep up a certain appearance for my children to protect myself from their loving concern. But my wife? She has lived with me long enough to know I’m no spring chicken - not even an autumn rooster.

But this whole episode begs the question, what should I look like at 71? What should anyone look like when they grow older?

Should I dye my hair? Pump iron for two hours a day? Purchase the latest anti-aging creams?

The model and actress Lauren Hutton once said “We have to be able to grow up. Our wrinkles are our medals of the passage of life. They are what we have been through and who we want to be.”

I’ve decided I’m not going worry about how old I look. I’ll display my medals with pride knowing I am what I am. And if my grey hair, balding scalp and wrinkled skin (and strange mouth contortions) is the price to pay for a long and wonderful life, I’ll take it any time.

You only have a few days left to purchase raffle tickets for the Chicken Coop. The drawing will be held at the Center this Friday, February 22nd during the Chicken Dinner and Auction – the Center’s major fundraiser for the year. Tickets are $10 or three for $25.  

If you’re soon turning 65, (and congratulations, you made it this far!), you probably have questions about enrolling in Medicare. As in any health insurance program, it’s complicated and can be confusing and frustrating.

You have a seven-month window to enroll called the Initial Enrollment Period which begins three months before the month you turn 65, includes the month you turn 65, and ends three months after the month you turn 65. You can go to to learn more about how to enroll.

But if you’re like me and find it more comfortable to talk to someone face-to-face, there are SHIBA (State Health Insurance Benefits Assistance) volunteers to help you through the Medicare maze. To schedule an appointment, call the local SHIBA line at 541-288-8341 or the Center at 541-296-4788. A SHIBA counselor should return your call within 48 hours.

The Center’s Loan Closet of durable medical equipment has been enlarged, organized and cleaned thanks to the help of Joyce Browne, Karen Miller and Sue Arguelles. It is one of the Center’s most popular programs, but it depends on a constant supply of donated used medical equipment. The Center currently has plenty of walkers, both two wheel and four-wheel, but is short of commodes, shower benches and toilet seat risers. You can drop off any donated items at the Center, and if the Center is closed just leave them at the front door. I haven’t yet seen any thieves running down the street with a toilet seat riser under their arm.

The title of Jacqueline Susann’s first novel published in 1966 which received poor reviews but was the biggest selling novel that year was Valley of the Dolls. I received correct answers from Vicki Sallee, Jerry Phillips, Cheri Brent, Lana Tepfer, Deloris Schrader and Lorna Elliott this week’s winner of a free quilt raffle ticket.

We’ll stick with literature for two more weeks. In 1966 Truman Capote, wrote one of greatest true crime books ever written establishing a new literary form: the “nonfiction novel”. For this week’s “Remember When” question what was the title of the book that detailed the 1959 murders of four members of the Herbert Clutter family in the small farming community. Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or return your answer with a picture of the Finney County Courthouse in Garden City Kansas.

Well, it’s been another week wishing spring would grab my snow shovel and store it away for another year.  Until we meet again, there is no wrong time to start living the life you want to live.

“Keep your face always toward the sunshine - and shadows will fall behind you.”  Walt Whitman

Aging Well In The Gorge February 13th 2019

The look of retirement has changed over the last half century. Today many who reach retirement age want to keep working by finding a part-time “gig” for the personal satisfaction and additional income. The number of “gigsters” - older adults working part-time - is growing particularly with the current high unemployment rate. If you are willing to commit the time and the employer is willing to be flexible, it can be a win-win situation.

For example, CGCC is currently recruiting for part time instructors – a perfect opportunity for qualified retirees. You can learn more by attending the Part-Time Instructor Job Fair on Saturday, February 16th from 10:00 – 12:00 at The Dalles Campus Building 3 or visit

On the other hand, maybe you’d rather work for yourself as an in-home care worker or house sitter - or turning your hobby into a small business selling your handmade crafts at bazaars or on the website Etsy.

Whether working part-time for an employer or yourself, being a “gigster” can be rewarding by keeping yourself engaged and connected while earning a few extra dollars - as long as it doesn’t become a “real” job! 

The Center was rockin’ Friday night with over ninety folks attending the “50’s, 60’s, 70’s Dance Party”. We showed that older folks still know how to party - we just now have to get to bed earlier! There were all generations on the dance floor including several young adults from Dufur; and Lucille Torgerson, the impromptu queen of the evening, with her escort Mike Ballinger. And everyone had a “groovy” good time.

But the evening would not have been possible without the vision and energy of Judy Merrill, Connie Krummrich, and Widge Johnson and master DJ Randy Haines, with help from Adie Jones, Cyndi Russell and Linda Jackson plus all the donated finger foods. And I can’t forget the dance sponsors: The Springs at Mill Creek and Schultens Ford.

And yes, we will do it again!

The Center’s February Celebration concludes with a Fundraiser Dinner/Auction on Friday, February 22nd sponsored by The Springs at Mill Creek, Schultens Ford and Cousins Restaurant - who will be serving a Chicken Cordon Bleu dinner. There will be some great auction items: a night at the Wildhorse Casino with dinner for two; a night’s stay at Mcmenamins Edgefield; Portland Trailblazer tickets; and 18 holes of golf at Chinook Winds. Tickets are $35 - but we are only selling 100 tickets. You can purchase your tickets at Klindt’s (only cash or checks accepted) or at the Center.

The Dalles Blue Zones Project is initiating a series of Eat Wisely Events starting with a Potluck Moai Launch at the Center on Tuesday, February 19th from 5:30 – 7:00 PM. If you don’t remember, a moai is a term used in Okinawa, Japan to describe a social support group engaged in a common activity while sharing stories, advice and life experiences.

For the Potluck Moai bring a healthy dish to share; and then over the next ten weeks you can join a moai group of 5-9 persons meeting over 10 weeks sharing healthy meals and habits. Also, if you want to know more about cooking healthy foods for a group of friends while staying within your budget, there will be cooking demonstrations at the Center on the first and third Tuesdays of March and April. If you have questions, call 541-288-4487 or email Amy Krol at

The 1962 book written by Rachel Carson that inspired the environmental movement is Silent Spring. I received correct answers from Carol Earl, Lee Kaseberg, Sandy Haechrel, Adie Jones, Ann Radford, Cheri Brent, Lana Tepfer, Jerry Phillips, Jeanne Pesicka and Mary Haas this week’s winner of a free quilt raffle ticket.

We’re going to keep on a literary track but this time taking the low road. For this week’s “Remember When” question what was the title of Jacqueline Susann’s first novel published in 1966 which was panned by the critics but was the biggest selling novel that year and has sold more than 31 million copies - making it one of the best-selling works in publishing history? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or return your answer written on a bottle of prescription barbiturates.

Well, it’s been another week keeping warm under the blankets. Until we meet again, you know you’re getting older when you begin telling a story with “I’ve probably told you this before, but …”

“A lot of people like snow. I find it to be an unnecessary freezing of water.” Carl Reiner

Aging Well in the Gorge February 6th 2019

You may have heard of the Blue Zones Project in The Dalles - a well-being improvement initiative designed to help make healthier choices easier. It is based on the idea that much of our health and longevity is determined by our environment, so optimizing our surroundings can add both quantity and quality to our lives.  And when the entire community participates – including the Center, schools, and restaurants – small changes can reap large dividends.

In support of this initiative, the Center is working to become a Participating Organization. This requires the Center to complete several actions within six months such as starting a Moai Walking Team, hosting plant-based cooking events, and posting Blue Zone information on the Center’s website.  

But another requirement is to encourage community members to complete a Blue Zones Personal Pledge and return it to the Center. The pledge consists of selecting at least five actions from the list below. If you are already doing some of them, give yourself a pat on the back. And then consider challenging yourself by completing several additional actions in the next six months. You can find the Personal Pledge in more detail on the Center’s website ( or pick one up at the Center. More information is available on The Dalles Blue Zones Facebook page.

1) Keep a comfortable pair of walking shoes in plain sight to provide that nudge to move naturally daily. Or maybe a speedo swimsuit pinned to the front door? 
2)  Adopt a dog. Those daily walks will keep you moving! 
3) Attend a Blue Zones Purpose Workshop. 
4) Remove all computers and electronics from your bedroom. Here most older adults have an advantage by not being addicted to their Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts. 
5) Designate a space in your home for quiet time, meditation, or prayer. 
6) Stock your cupboard with 10-inch dinner plates because you mindlessly eat more calories when eating off larger plates. And that doesn’t mean you can go back for seconds! 
7) Remove TVs and computers from the kitchen and dining areas. They lead to mindless eating and consuming needless calories. 
8) Own a bathroom scale and weigh yourself regularly. 
9) Attend a plant-based cooking class. Knowing how to cook plant-based dishes that you enjoy increases the nutritional quality of your meals.
10) Grow a garden at your home or adopt a plot at a community garden. 
11) Schedule a weekly happy hour with friends and a small glass of red wine - IF you have a healthy relationship with alcohol. 
12) Have a conversation about getting older. Join the Center’s “Let’s Talk” group every Friday at 11:00. Or have a honest conversation with your adult children about what you want. 
13) Belong to a faith-based organization.

I often receive comments about the “Remember When’ questions, and what I particularly like to hear is, “I’d forgotten all about that”. My goal is not to stump you, although this last week’s question was a tough one, but to bring back memories of past experiences: attending a Beatles concert in Portland, remembering where you were when Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, or when you first heard classmates playing “Hang on Sloopy” at your high school’s talent show. Reminiscing is one of the advantages of aging: giving us a deeper perspective of life and of who we are. But most of the questions come from my limited experiences, an Indiana boy attending high school and college in the 60’s. So, if you can think of any questions, send them my way.

A “wet rag” was someone who was unpopular and just not fun to hang out with. Only Jeanne Pesicka answered the question correctly, although with a little coaching, and receives a free quilt raffle ticket. And from last week I missed Sandy Haechrel driving by in her “jalopy”.  

The Dalles Library has several book groups one of which is a non-fiction book group which meets on the 3rd Wednesday of the month at 6:30 PM. The book they are reading for February was written by Rachel Carson and published in 1962.  For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of this book that inspired the environmental movement? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or return your answer written on the back of a gallon of DDT.

Well, it’s been another week trying to keep the fire burning. Until we meet again, here’s one of Roger Rosenblatt’s rules for aging, “Just because the person criticizing you is an idiot doesn’t make him wrong.”


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